Playlist:  Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation by Kathleen Saylor, Alexander Street Press

The founding fathers created the Bill of Rights, but left succeeding generations of Americans the task of interpreting what these liberties meant. Our rights have most often been determined by court decisions; and the final word rests with the Supreme Court. One of the central concepts of the Constitution is the separation of powers among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. But two hundred years of American history have shown that the respective powers of the three branches sometimes overlap and conflict.
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Interpreting the Law: Role of the Supreme Court
directed by Tom Romano, fl. 1990; produced by Susan Eikov Green, fl. 1988 (Mount Kisco, NY: Guidance Associates, 1990), 1 hour 2 mins  
The history of the Court and how it evolved to be the final arbiter and interpreter of the nation's laws. Focuses on the Marshall and Warren Courts' decisions and Brown vs. Board of Ed.
01:02:00
23 Nov 2015
Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation, Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation: Marbury vs. Madison
directed by Holly Faison, fl. 1994-2006; produced by Guidance Associates, in Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation (Mount Kisco, NY: Guidance Associates, 1986), 17 mins  
The concept of judicial review was established in a Supreme Court decision made early in our country’s history—a decision in the case known as Marbury vs. Madison. Judicial Review means that we intend to live by the principles of the Constitution, and that we believe that judges trained in the law are best qualified to uphold these principles; for judicial review gives the judicial branch of our government—and the Supreme Court in particular—the right to determine the constitutionality of all laws. In this landmark case, Chief Justice John Marshall found himself in a political dilemma involving the relationship of authority between the judicial and executive branches of government. The program explains how Marshall’s historic decision managed to both satisfy President Jefferson and permanently strengthen the power of the Supreme Court.
16:41
23 Nov 2015
Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation, Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation: McCulloch vs. Maryland
directed by Holly Faison, fl. 1994-2006; produced by Guidance Associates, in Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation (Mount Kisco, NY: Guidance Associates, 1986), 15 mins  
The powers of the federal government are defined according to our interpretation of the Constitution. The extent of these powers is now always spelled out and it is sometimes necessary to determine if certain powers may or may not be implied. In our history, the question of implied powers has long been the subject of dispute between those who support a strong federal government and those who believe in the sovereignty of the state. One groundbreaking dispute over this issue was the case known as McCulloch vs. Maryland—a case that began after the War of 1812, when the founding of a National Bank caused this heated national controversy to come to a head.
14:49
23 Nov 2015
Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation, Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation: The Dred Scott Decision
directed by Holly Faison, fl. 1994-2006; produced by Guidance Associates, in Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation (Mount Kisco, NY: Guidance Associates, 1986), 16 mins  
The requirement that judges restrain their personal feelings and prevent outside factors from influencing their judicial decisions can be traced back to English common law. This practice is known as judicial restraint, and the abandonment of this essential principle is at the heart of a controversial case known as The Dred Scott Decision. The Dred Scott Decision involved slavery and states’ rights, two subjects that elicited strong opinions from almost all Americans—subjects that even U.S. justices seemed unable to confront with professional open-mindedness and judicial restraint. Ultimately, the course of this case testified to the breakdown of compromise between North and South, a breakdown that led the country to civil war.
15:54
23 Nov 2015
Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation, Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation: Plessy vs. Ferguson
directed by Patrick Fitzsimmons, fl. 1986; produced by Guidance Associates, in Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation (Mount Kisco, NY: Guidance Associates, 1986), 13 mins  
During the period following the Civil War, the United States gave legal justification to racial segregation—revealing that although the country was ready to abolish slavery, it was not prepared to accept the concept of equal rights for blacks; the Supreme Court’s decision in Plessy vs. Ferguson underscored this fact. After Lincoln’s death, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution were passed in order to provide “equal protection of the law” for all U.S. citizens. These amendments, however, were largely undermined by the passage of state laws discriminating against blacks and other minority groups. The principle of “separate but equal”—invoked in the case of Plessy vs. Ferguson—set a precedent for the ruling of segregation cases over the next sixty years.
13:09
23 Nov 2015
Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation, Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation: Brown vs. Board of Education
directed by Holly Faison, fl. 1994-2006; produced by Guidance Associates, in Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation (Mount Kisco, NY: Guidance Associates, 1986), 12 mins  
The Supreme Court continued uphold racial segregation under the principle of “separate but equal” until the 1950’s. At this time, they began to reassess whether or not “equal protection of the law,” as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, was in fact being carried out. Segregation in public schools—and the discriminatory nature of segregation—was questioned for the first time in Brown vs. Board of Education. Segregation was pronounced demoralizing and injurious to the education of a black child. The concept that segregation was detrimental to public education established the grounds for winning the suite, which proved to be an important achievement in the struggle for civil rights.
11:55
23 Nov 2015
Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation, Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation: Gideon vs Wainwright and Miranda vs Arizona
directed by Holly Faison, fl. 1994-2006; produced by Guidance Associates, in Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation (Mount Kisco, NY: Guidance Associates, 1986), 17 mins  
In all police arrests, the accused has the right to remain silent and to be provided with an attorney before and during questioning. He or she must also be informed of these rights, in order to exercise the “privilege against self-incrimination.” The provision of these rights is a result of fairly recent Supreme Court decisions based on the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution. Although the purpose of these rulings is to aid suspects who may be poor, inexperienced or ignorant of the law, some people argue that these rulings provide a kind of protection for the professional criminal as well. In examining these two key Supreme Court decisions, this program explores an issue that remains a subject of controversy today: balancing the fight of the accused with those of society.
16:31
23 Nov 2015
Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation, Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation: Roe vs. Wade
directed by John G. Young, fl. 1994-2016; produced by Susan Eikov Green, fl. 1988, Guidance Associates, in Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation (Mount Kisco, NY: Guidance Associates, 1989), 17 mins  
The twentieth century, particularly the most recent decades, has seen a rising in the concern for women’s rights. The success of advocacy for women’s rights can be measured not only by such advances as the right to vote and the right to be admitted to all professions, but also to the increased presence of women in elected and appointive government offices. Thus, it was hardly a surprise when, in the early 1970’s, a case dealing with the right of a woman to end her pregnancy reached the Supreme Court. A pregnant, single woman brought the challenge to the state law of Texas, which limited the right of abortion to those women whose life was threatened by childbearing. The Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision in Roe v. Wade was an attempt to balance the individual’s right to privacy against declared interests of the state in preserving maternal health and potentiality of life, as represented by the fetus. The Court avoided the problem of determining when life actually begins by dividing a pregnancy into three trimesters. The first trimester left the abortion decision to the woman and her physician. The second trimester gave the state the power to regulate abortions “in ways that are essentially related to maternal health.” During the third trimester, the Court held that a state government might forbid abortion, in the interest of maternal health, or in preserving “the potentiality of human life.” Anti-abortion groups saw the Court’s decision as undue interference with existing state laws. Those in favor of women’s free choice welcomed the decision as a step in the continuing struggle for women’s’ total emancipation.
16:40
23 Nov 2015
Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation, Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation: U.S. v Nixon
directed by Patrick Fitzsimmons, fl. 1986; produced by Susan Eikov Green, fl. 1988, Guidance Associates, in Supreme Court Decisions That Changed the Nation (Mount Kisco, NY: Guidance Associates, 1989), 24 mins  
The Framers of the Constitution wanted to create a government where the three branches, legislative, executive, and judicial would be as distinct as possible yet cooperate for the effective function of government. Their view of history had tught them that the concentration of power in the hands of the few led to tyranny, and the loss of personal liberties. But try as they might, the framers could not prevent some overlapping powers. In this case, President Nixon claimed the right to executive privilege, and refused to surrender documents in his possession despite a Federal court subpoena. In reaching its decision, in this case, the Supreme Court drew upon the famous statement of Justice John Marshall in Marbury v. Madison, 1803: “It is emphatically the province and the duty of the court to say what the law is.” The Court also stressed the need for the accused in a criminal case to have access to every person’s evidence, since to do otherwise would injure the integrity of the justice system. At the same time, while rejecting President Nixon’s claim to executive privilege, in this case, the Court acknowledged a limited right of executive privilege in instances where national security or military and diplomatic confidentiality might demonstrably require it.
23:56
23 Nov 2015
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